Addressing child protection week, CHIVA South Africa recognises that the most vulnerable in our society – our children – must be protected. All of us – parents and all citizens, businesses, faith-based, and not-for-profit organisations, have a role to play to stop the cycle of neglect, abuse, violence, and exploitation of children; and we call on you to play your part.
The first-ever national study of child maltreatment in South Africa indicated that over 40% of young people have experienced some form of sexual abuse, physical abuse, emotional abuse, or neglect at some point in their lives; all of which can lead to serious long-term mental health concerns in their young lives. That is nearly half of South Africa’s young people and should not be accepted for a country that has some of the best laws and a national action plan to prevent and respond to violence against children. All South African’s must commit to this injustice as the report highlights that we fail at implementation; ‘the social, police, criminal justice, and health services – are not as efficient or effective as policies clearly intend them to be.’ It is South African’s who implement policies, so it is up to South Africans to respond.
The report also cited that strong action could prevent the maltreatment of children and that parents should be a key focus for prevention efforts, as it was found that children who report victimisation were far more likely to have parents who misused drugs and alcohol than children who did not. One strategy would be to scale up substance abuse prevention and treatment efforts as well as effective parent skills training programmes. Another would be to empower our children to say no to situations that make them feel uncomfortable; give them a voice and they will be heard.
CHIVA South Africa is committed to ensuring that our children and adolescents live a long and healthy life, which includes their mental health. Our mentorship programmes encourage health professionals to identify signs of maltreatment and integrate child maltreatment prevention and interventions when delivering health services such as family planning, reproductive health programmes, maternal health, child immunisation, and early childhood development.
‘Each of us as citizens, has a role to play in creating a better world for
our children.’ (Nelson Mandela, 9 May 2002)
The following toll free numbers provide support and counselling for survivors and parents:
0800 428 428 to speak to a social worker
Command Centre cell number *120*7867#
Childline South Africa 0800 055 555
Child Welfare South Africa 0861 4 24453
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